Draw Better and Faster with Illustrator CC
Illustration by John Hersey

Combining the Pencil with a drawing tablet


From:

Draw Better and Faster with Illustrator CC

with Deke McClelland

Video: Combining the Pencil with a drawing tablet

Alright, now if the pencil tool works well with the mouse, it works splendidly with a drawing tablet. So what we're going to do in this movie, is take a this pencil sketch, that I cleaned up inside of Photoshop, and then placed into Illustrator and I'm going to turn it into this final drawing here, which I created entirely using the pencil tool. I didn't draw anything with the pen tool as I normally would. So I'll go ahead and switch back to my template file right here. And I'll double click on this layer that I've created in advanced, called Sketch.

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Watch the Online Video Course Draw Better and Faster with Illustrator CC
1h 52m Appropriate for all Apr 02, 2014

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Illustrator CC does something that few updates to the program have done: It promises to change the fundamental way that you draw. Yes, there was the Pen tool in Illustrator 1, Pathfinder operations in Illustrator 5, and dynamic effects in Illustrator 9. But Illustrator CC changes the entire nature of the game. Deke's not exaggerating; the things he's about to show you are that big. Learn about the "new" Pencil tool, on-the-fly corner rounding, and freeform curve bending. 3 features in 3 short chapters that will change the way you see Illustrator. Then Deke shows how to combine them all in a real-world Illustrator project that proves his thesis: drawing has never been faster, better, or easier than this.

Topics include:
  • Drawing effortless arcs, paths, and lines with the Pen tool
  • Selectively and dynamically rounding corners
  • Drawing complex shapes with round corners
  • Bending segments with the Pen tool
  • Beveling and enhancing artwork
  • Drawing multiple lines at the same time
Subject:
Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Deke McClelland

Combining the Pencil with a drawing tablet

Alright, now if the pencil tool works well with the mouse, it works splendidly with a drawing tablet. So what we're going to do in this movie, is take a this pencil sketch, that I cleaned up inside of Photoshop, and then placed into Illustrator and I'm going to turn it into this final drawing here, which I created entirely using the pencil tool. I didn't draw anything with the pen tool as I normally would. So I'll go ahead and switch back to my template file right here. And I'll double click on this layer that I've created in advanced, called Sketch.

And I'll go ahead and turn on the template check box, and click OK, and that way we've got ourselves a tracing template. Next thing I want to do is switch to the drawing layer. So you need an independent layer, that's not locked in order to draw. And then, I'll go ahead and select the Pencil Tool, as I normally would here inside the tool box. And now notice that I could draw some paths using my mouse, and actually I'm getting pretty good results by doing exactly that, but some of these areas are pretty long.

You can see that this area right here is going to take a little bit more finesse than that, for example. So I'll go ahead and press Control Z or Command Z on the Mac to undo that line. And I'm also going to make a couple of changes here. I'm going to change the line weight to two points up here in the Control Panel, and I'll click on the word Stroke, and I'll go ahead and set both the Corner to Round Join, and the Cap to Round Cap. And that's just going to make for a more forgiving piece of artwork. And now, I'll go ahead and switch over to my Cintiq, which is a drawing tablet that's also a monitor.

So you're basically drawing directly on your monitor. And I'll go ahead and create a line right about there, and I'll draw another segment at this location. And so forth, so you can see, that talent is still required, of course, you're not going to be able to pull this off if this is your first time ever using Illustrator. However, I'm going to go ahead and press Control Z, or Command Z on a Mac, because I want to draw this guy like so, decide to add another little fin here, and then I'll continue along. Now you may encounter this kind of stuff. I'm going to zoom right in there.

And you can see that I've got a couple of points where I only want one. So in that case I just press the A key, to switch to the wide arrow tool, also knows as the direct selection tool. And I'll go ahead and click off the path and click on this last point, and press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac, in order to get rid of it. So every once in a while you're going to find that you create extra end points, with the Pencil tool. Alright, I'll go ahead and press the End key to switch back to the Pencil, my path is still selected so I can continue to extend it like so and then I'll press the Spacebar in order to drag the image up a little bit in order to scroll the document.

And now I'll zoom out a little, so I'll Control Alt Spacebar click, like so, in order to zoom out. And now here's one of the more challenging parts. I'm going to start right there, and then I'll swoop around in order to create this spiralling tail, like so. And look what a smooth, fantastic job the Pencil Tool has done. That is better curvature then I frequently get out of even the Pen Tool. And now I'll go ahead and draw this little spiraling line right there to that point.

And so, as you can see, I'm trying to draw entire arcs at a time and then end on corner points. Alright, now I'll go ahead and draw this section right here. So it really helps to draw in big, sweeping arcs. Except, it didn't help that time. I ended up getting a smooth point line at this location. That's not what I want, so I'll try again by pressing Control Z, or Command Z on the Mac, and then it'll just make more of a pronounce sort of corner at this location. Now, if you end up not liking what you've come up with, and for example I don't want to see horse to have quite that saggy of the tummy.

Why then feel free to switch to the wide area tool by pressing the A key, now go ahead and click off the path outline, and I'll grab this guy right there and move him upward, and I'll even drag my Control Handles around a little bit like so, until I end up getting an effect that I'm more pleased with. So I'm not by any means, indicating that I drew every line perfectly with the Pen Tool. Its just that I never had to resort to the Pen Tool in order to get this final illustration here, and you can see that even the spiralling tail ended up working out very, very nicely.

Now the reason I've got all the stuff in the background, I didn't draw this pattern using anything, because it's one of the patterns that ships along with Illustrator by default. So if I were to go ahead and press the V key to switch to my black arrow tool, and click on that rectangle that I created using the rectangle tool in the background, you can see here in the appearance panel that I've got a blue fill, and then I have this other fill, which is set to this pattern that ships along with Illustrator, as long as, by the way, you go ahead and create a basic RGB document as I had done, and you can see that it's a pattern called jive.

Alright, now I'll go ahead and press Control Shift A, or Command Shift A on the Mac, to deselect that rectangle in the background. And that friends is an outstandingly detailed piece of artwork, given that's it's the kind of thing that I would have never attempted to draw with the Pencil Tool in the old days. Nor, would I have tried to draw it with the free hand tool, for which freehand was actually named, because the Pencil Tool here inside of Illustrator CC, is so much better, than any free form drawing tool we've had in the past.

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